Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort – Adults Only
What We Love
- On-site art gallery (just outside the restaurant) features work by local artists and craftspeople
- Two Japanese hot baths are serene spots to unwind and stargaze
- The impressive library, stocked with 1,200 books, is a bibliophile's heaven
What To Know
- This is an adults-only resort
- The ocean views are impressive but distant
- There are two identical pool areas—one is clothing-optional, the other for the more modest
- Adults Only
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Built in 1975 by Hollywood producer Lawrence Spector with the profits from the hugely successful motorcycle classic Easy Rider, these cedar-and-redwood cabins were designed to blend into and be at one with the landscape. A total renovation in 2008 preserved the high-end, all-natural ’70s aesthetic (think stone fireplaces and light flooding through huge windows) while updating the property with modern necessities. Ventana’s 60 rustic-chic guest rooms are done up in restful colors of sage, russet, and cream with huge King beds and river rock fireplaces that bring the natural world inside, as well as big windows and decks that look out onto California’s most spectacular scenery—towering redwoods, craggy canyons, and white-capped waves. Spa-like bathrooms encourage relaxation with deep soaking tubs and rainfall shower heads. The luxury-camp-for-adults appeal takes hold quickly here. Overlooking a stretch of wild and unspoiled Big Sur coastline where the Santa Lucia range plunges into the Pacific, Ventana Inn & Spa sits on 243 wooded acres some 1,200 feet above the pounding surf. The resort’s trails meander through forests teeming with deer, falcon, fox, and wild turkey. The rocky shores reveal Mother Nature’s water-washed treasures to beachcombers, and cedar-walled Japanese hot tubs open to blue skies or starry nights. Tuck into locally sourced coastal dishes at The Restaurant at Ventana, where the sweeping Pacific Ocean views are just as good as the fresh fare.
In the Area
The Henry Miller Library has a display of novelist Henry Miller’s original manuscripts. Check ahead for a schedule of outdoor concerts by the likes of Philip Glass and Arcade Fire. Point Sur Lighthouse — dramatically positioned on a volcanic rock high above the Pacific — is worth the walk. The Ambrosia Burger on the deck of 1940s Nepenthe restaurant, in a cliffside house once owned by Orson Welles and his bride Rita Hayworth, is aptly named and worth the wait, which can be quite long on weekends. Hunks of California jade wash up at Jade Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches on the Big Sur coast. Jade colors range from the traditional green to light blue to pure black. Low tide is the best time to look. The Coast Gallery, established in 1958 in a historic house nestled in Redwood Canyon (1,000 feet above sea level with uninterrupted views of Big Sur and the headland), is a great place to buy art.
How to Get There
Amazing, amazing visit to Big Sur and the Ventana surely didn’t disappoint. The resort was intimate and private (we felt like the only couple there!) yet luxurious in a natural rustic way. I would highly recommend to anyone staying in the area. We can’t wait to come back. The glamping tents were an incredible way to literally be sleeping under the Redwoods and stars. The property is spacious and nicely laid out. Wish we had time to take advantage of the daily guided hikes. Overall wonderful stay!
Hotel staff was great, room very comfy and gorgeous. But our meal at The Sur House a huge disappointment. Terrible interior ambience, food not all good, awful acoustics so we all had difficulty hearing each other. Also very dark inside, waiter had to give us flashlight to see the menus.
Driving through we decided to stop for lunch and the view - had booked a stay last year and had to cancel due to road closure, so we looked forward to seeing the spot.
We sat outside for a light lunch - the hostess was overwhelmed in keeping track of guests waiting for a table and did not interact well with us.
Unfortunately due to the fires and the climate in general the view was very muted - but the location is spectacular and on a clear day you can only imagine.
We enjoyed the cauliflower salad and the crispy oyster lettuce wraps - both were outstanding and the server overcame the poor initial impression from the hostess.
We look forward to a return visit and stay.
My husband and I wanted to get out for a night and rented the glamping tents at Ventana. Wow! They were amazing. I loved the touch of the hot water and smore's. The next day we stayed to use the spa and hotel amenities. I highly recommend. We'll be back!
We had a very private suite to celebrate our birthdays and wedding anniversary. We were late in arriving - it was dark and couldn't see anything beyond our deck. But we had a nice surprise waiting in our room - chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne. Nice way to start things off. It was wonderful to wake up the next morning and have a perfect view of the ocean.
On Halloween, we had some fun carving a pumpkin we picked up along the way and lit it up that evening. Fortunately, no trick or treaters!
The staff were professional and friendly, kept our room stocked with bath salts, coffee pods and a bottle of water on the nightstand when they turn down the bed.
Gorgeous views, awesome Indian summer weather. A great place to just be.